Abby Van Soest

Intelligent systems and cognitive science

About Me

I am 20 years old and a junior at Princeton University. I study computer science with a minor in cognitive science, and am fascinated by everything from machine learning to the philosophy of language. I'm originally from a rural area outside Ithaca NY, where my parents operate a bed and breakfast out of our home.


Human Behavior and Computing

My favorite topic in computer science is how models of computing and computer processes can be based on the psychological and neurological processes of humans.


After competing in cross country and track in high school, I began to run longer distances in college. This fall, I will be racing my first half-marathon.


I started throwing on the wheel in ninth grade and continue to experiment with ceramics and pottery in my free time. I love throwing mugs to add to my burgeoning collection of coffee and tea mugs.


I first became interested in robots as a member of my high school's competitive robotics team. I continue to work with the team as a mentor, through which I especially aim to encourage female participation.

Skills and Experience


Gender Represenations across Country-Specific Word Embeddings

Used NLP tools and statistical analysis to examine the representation of gender in localized areas. Trained word embeddings by applying the word2vec algorithm to 22 country-specific English corpora. I then developed metrics to compare the strength of implicit and explicit gender stereotypes between these countries. Findings indicated a regional correlation between both sorts of stereotypes.

Multi-Agent Coordination

Design and implement an experimental simulation in which multiple robots tackle two entangled problems in multi-agent learning, direct collaborate and effective use of communication. Implemented using neuroevolutionary and reinforcement learning techniques.

Course Recommender System

A recommender system for Princeton courses based on semantic and lexicographic analysis. Implemented using natural language processing techniques to extract information from public course descriptions.


Google Software Engineering Intern

Worked within the Google Search division. My team focused broadly on 'News on Search', or the way in which news stories and current events are surfaced to search users.

My project was to develop and implement a triggering model that decided when to activate a new feature for a Search Engine user.

June 2017 - September 2017

Undergraduate research assistant

Research topics in multi-agent learning and coordination under Professor Kagan Tumer at Oregon State University.

May 2016 - August 2016

McGraw Center Math Tutor

Tutor students in calculus and linear algebra through Princeton's center for teaching and learning.

May 2016 - present

The Fontainebleau Inn

Provide friendly, high-quality customer service to diverse groups of guests at weddings and other formal events.

May 2009 - September 2015


Residential College Advisor

Work with College staff to mentor and advise incoming freshman students on academics and general life at Princeton.

March 2016 - present

Student Representative on the Committee on Discipline

Work with teachers, administrators, and other students to administer the University's rules and regulations governing academic integrity and serious non-academic misconduct.

May 2016 - present


C and C++


Feel free to message me with any questions.